With its production of Circle Mirror Transformation, Stageworks brings an acclaimed work by Annie Baker to the Tampa Bay area. It won the 2009 Obie Award for best new American play, and the playwright was recently the subject of an adoring profile in the New Yorker.
"To watch Baker's work is to be drawn into a world that feels as unplotted as real life (characters chat at cross-purposes; costumes and stage settings are uncannily real) but that breaks abruptly into surreal transcendence (a Hula Hoop being spun for almost a minute, in one case)," Nathan Heller writes. "Onstage, Baker exercises meticulous control in order to make action seem as unrefined as possible. Her characters exchange the kind of knobby dialogue you overhear in diners on Friday mornings: mothers fretting volubly about their young-adult kids' problems, twentysomething friends chasing back bleary silence with defensive nonchalance."
Circle Mirror Transformation, directed by Karla Hartley, features Diane Dehn, Kibwe Dorsey, Lizzie Kehoe, Dawn Truax and Jim Wicker. The play opens Friday and runs through March 24 at Stageworks, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Opening night tickets are $35, including reception. Other shows are $26, with $10 tickets a half-hour before curtain for artists, students, seniors and military. Preview tonight is $10. (813) 251-8984; stageworkstheatre.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic